Governor Wants To Legalize Marijuana By January 1st, 2020
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said Saturday he's reached an agreement with key lawmakers on a plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state starting next year.
The legislation would allow adults 21 and older to legally buy cannabis for recreational use from licensed dispensaries. Illinois residents could possess up to about an ounce (30 grams) of marijuana, while non-residents could possess about half an ounce (15 grams).
If it passes, Illinois would join 10 other states, including neighboring Michigan, in legalizing recreational marijuana. While the Illinois law would take effect January 1st, the first licenses for Illinois growers, processors and dispensaries wouldn't be issued until May and July 2020, according to Pritzker's office.
Pritzker was joined by fellow Democratic lawmakers in Chicago to announce the deal, which comes after years of discussion among state legislators. They said the measure will be introduced Monday, kicking off debate at the Legislature, where Democrats hold a majority in both chambers.
The governor's office said 35% of revenue from legal cannabis would go to the state's general operating fund, while an additional 25% would go into a new Restoring Our Communities fund. That money would be distributed as grants to communities that "have suffered the most because of discriminatory drug policies."
Illinois would use 10% of revenue to pay a backlog of unpaid bills. The rest of the money would support mental health and substance abuse treatment, law enforcement grants and public education and awareness.